Mexican: Freshness, consistency work for La Margarita

KOBBI R. BLAIR / Statesman Journal file

Pedro Rosales is the owner of La Margarita in Salem. The restaurant won the Mexican restaurant category in Best of the Mid-Valley.

Statesman Journal
November 15, 2001

When Pedro Rosales gets home Friday from Mexico, he will learn that his La Margarita restaurant was selected the best Mexican restaurant in the Mid-Valley.

It probably won’t surprise him. Rosales, La Margarita’s owner, has worked hard to earn the reputation and to keep it.

Part of the reason for La Margarita’s success in the community is Javier Munoz, the chef who has been at the restaurant for 16 years.

“That’s pretty good,” Munoz said of the “best of” designation.

The dishes at La Margarita are authentic, many developed by Rosales, who spends a lot of time in Mexico. Munoz, too, has added his touch.

Freshness of ingredients, Munoz said, plays a part. “We do everything fresh,” he said. Each morning the basics are put together, the salsa, the tortillas, the sauces. Meals are cooked to order.

La Margarita has another edge — the mesquite grill, which is the only such grill around, Munoz said.
Many of the meats in the La Margarita menu are cooked on the grill, rather than being deep fried or sauteed. This gives a unique flavor boost to the dishes.

The menu includes such things as Mesquite-grilled Halibut, Tacos al Carbon with sirloin steak chunks, Shrimp Quesadilla and others. Most are around $10.

The service at the restaurant is consistently good, something that Rosales insists on.

Much of the time, he is at the door to greet people as they come in.

The ambiance is basic but pleasant. The open kitchen allows diners to watch the mesquite grill work in action, even from outside on Ferry Street.

The La Margarita’s hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for lunch; and

5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday for dinner.